PotatoesAlison Lambert

WICKED POTATOES (RIVER CAFE STYLE)

PotatoesAlison Lambert
When it comes to potatoes there sure is a lot too learn - waxy, floury, baking, mashing, roasting and so on and so on!  Believe me you can become quite obsessed about them, always avoid pre-washed potatoes as the dirt is a form of protection it helps to prolong its life, they don't like sunlight or water for that matter so it is best to keep them as natural as possible.  It also helps to get familiar with a few varieties as you really do need to have a variety that is a good all rounder like Desiree or Maris Anchor and every household should have a bag of Agria (Brydone Organics are amazing) which make the best chips, wedges or roasts as they are fluffy on the inside and crisp and crunchy on the outside!  It is also useful to have a waxy variety on hand like Nadine or draga which are perfect for boiling and tossing through a salad as they hold their form and have a firm texture.

Whilst working at the River Cafe in London (many years back) i was not only overwhelmed with the sheer variety of new produce and ingredients i learnt a hell of a lot about potatoes.  I had never had potato dishes like this before where they were cooked with fennel and lemon or porcini and thyme, red onion and balsamic vinegar - it was a taste revelation.  Perhaps that is why i appreciate a good potato now and let us not forget a grower who has the same passion of producing potatoes that taste how a potato should.  It sounds crazy really but i bet if you thought about the humble potato and the flavour "did it actually have any?" That is the question...?


ROAST POTATOES WITH RED ONION AND BALSAMIC

serves 4 as a side

1 kg waxy potato like nadine or draga
2-3 red onions
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, bruised
100 ml cheap balsamic vinegar
150g butter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method
Preheat your oven to 200C


Scrub your potatoes and cut into medium sized wedges. 
Cut the onions in half and then into wedges (do not be tempted to cut the base off as this is what will keep it together).
Heat a large roasting pan up on the stove top, add the butter and let bubble away.  Add the red onions, potatoes and garlic cook this for at least 5-10 minutes so they soak up the butter and start to colour up a bit. 
Add the balsamic vinegar and thyme, season well with salt and pepper and once again move the potatoes around so they get to soak up the vinegar. 
Place into your hot oven and roast for 10 minutes, give them a little shake and test for doneness.  Return to oven if needed.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

These potatoes are fantastic with lamb and pork, but to be honest they are fantastic with anything!